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Late blight alert in southern Ontario

A&L Biologicals Laboratory has confirmed the presence of late blight spores in the Alliston, Ont. area. Spores were not detected in the spore trap near Shelburne, Ont., but conditions for the development of late blight are perfect not only near Alliston but across the province of Ontario. To date, there are no reports of potato late blight in Ontario. But potato fields must be protected against this devastating disease to avoid economic…

Light potato psyllid pressure in Idaho

In Idaho, pressure from the tiny, winged insects that spread zebra chip disease in potatoes has been light this season, emboldening some Idaho farmers to scale back on their pesticide programs. Zebra chip, which is caused by the Liberibacter bacterium and spread by potato psyllids, first arrived in the Pacific Northwest in 2011. The disease creates bands in tuber flesh that darken during frying, rendering spuds unmarketable. University of Idaho (UI) extension…

Seed potatoes go to waste due to trade restrictions

The repercussions of the tomato potato psyllid outbreak are taking shape in Western Australia (WA), with seed potato growers starting to feed hundreds of tonnes of perfectly good produce to their cattle. With exports of WA potatoes and tomatoes still ground to a halt, and a fully supplied local market, seed potato producers have no home for their produce. It has forced many growers, such as Albany’s Trevor Barker, to dump their…

Potato Late Blight Management

Potato late blight is a devastating disease of potatoes. It can destroy a potato field in a few days if wet weather prevails and no effective fungicides are applied. This is a “community disease” because late blight spores are spread by wind from infected to healthy fields. Thus, the management practices followed by individual growers will affect an entire potato production area. Late blight is carried over from one season to the…

Should Seed Potato Growers start testing for Dickeya?

The potato disease Dickeya can be detected by laboratory testing — but is there enough of it present to justify the higher costs? That is the question for Canadian seed potato growers exporting to the United States who are increasingly asked for the test. It’s a relatively new threat to North American potato production. The invasive pathogen Dickeya dianthicola — not to be confused with blackleg causing Dickeya solani — was first…

Strain Tracking

Through a national initiative, Canadian researchers have found that late blight strains have shifted dramatically across the country since 2009. The researchers have also identified important differences among the strains in such characteristics as fungicide sensitivity, host preferences, and aggressiveness on potato tubers and foliage. And their findings are making a vital difference in late blight prevention and management. The research is led by Rick Peters, a research scientist with Agriculture and…

WA potato farmers prepare to leave industry because of tomato potato psyllid outbreak

A Western Australia seed potato grower will know in the next six weeks whether his lifelong career will continue. “[Farming] is something that we’ve done not just because I wanted to but because I get a reward for it, financially and personally,” said Alan Parker. “[This] may be the last crop we grow here.” Usually at this time of year, Parker’s farm would be busy and in the middle of harvesting his…

West Australia moves from Potato Psyllid Eradication to Control

Potato Psyllids, a destructive plant pest found for the first time in Australia in February, cannot be eradicated so the industry will seek to manage it, rather than destroy it. The Department of Food and Agriculture of West Australia said it would work on a plan to control the tomato potato psyllid, which attacks a range of vegetable crops including tomato, eggplant, capsicum, chilli and tamarillo. Department biosecurity and regulation executive director…

University of Maine to hold international Potato Disease Summit

Two bacteria threatening the potato industry worldwide will be the focus of a Potato Disease Summit Nov. 9 in Bangor, Maine, convened by the University of Maine. Plant pathologists, researchers and scientists from The Netherlands, Scotland and five U.S. states will present the latest information on the bacteria — Dickeya and Pectobacterium — that cause blackleg disease, an emerging potato seed problem. In the past three growing seasons, Dickeya, a bacterial pathogen…

Diseases To Watch For On Seed Potato Tubers

Healthy seed is a key factor in growing a quality potato crop. Several diseases affect seed tubers and they have the potential to reduce plant stand early in the season. Therefore, it is extremely important to examine all seed lots carefully immediately after receiving the seed. If you detect diseases or defects, check the standards set by the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency (CFIA). There are tolerances for both shipping and receiving….

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